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Quick Takes: A fanboy free-for-all

May 07, 2011

An estimated 2.7 million copies of free comics are set to be handed out in comic book stores across the country and in 40 other countries on Saturday.

"The first Free Comic Book Day featured just four publishers. This year, three dozen publishers are participating," observed Joe Field, owner of Flying Colors Comics in Concord, Calif., who came up with the idea for the promotional event 10 years ago.

"Free Comic Book Day is massively important to us, because it gives us the opportunity to reach out and hook the next generation of comic book readers, and to reconnect with lapsed readers of the past," said Tom Brevoort, senior vice president at Marvel Comics. "And who doesn't like free stuff?"

—Associated Press

'Three Cups' readers file suit

Two Montana residents are trying to start a class-action lawsuit against "Three Cups of Tea" author Greg Mortenson, claiming they were duped into buying Mortenson's bestselling book and donating to his charity based on lies they thought were true.

The claim filed Thursday in federal court in Missoula, Mont., is the latest fallout from reports by "60 Minutes" and author Jon Krakauer last month that alleged that Mortenson lied in "Three Cups of Tea" about how he became involved in building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The reports also questioned whether Mortenson financially benefited from his charity, Central Asia Institute, and whether CAI built the number of schools it claimed.

Mortenson's spokesman did not return a call for comment Friday.

The lawsuit by Michele Reinhart of Missoula and Jean Price of Great Falls claims Mortenson and CAI committed fraud by inducing them to donate and buy his book.

—Associated Press

Chapter ends for longtime editor

Robert Loomis, one of publishing's most accomplished and longest serving editors, is retiring.

The Random House Publishing Group said Friday that Loomis was stepping down at the end of June after 55 years with the company.

Loomis, 85, has worked with such writers as William Styron, Edmund Morris, Calvin Trillin and Maya Angelou, who has credited Loomis with pushing her into completing her first book, the classic "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings."

—Associated Press

Paul McCartney to get hitched

Paul McCartney is engaged to his New York girlfriend, Nancy Shevell, a spokesman for the former Beatle said Friday.

McCartney's London-based spokesman confirmed a report in People magazine that the singer will wed Shevell, a New York-based businesswoman.

Shevell, 51, a board member of New York's transportation authority, and McCartney, 68, have been dating for about four years.

McCartney was married for 29 years to photographer Linda Eastman until she died of cancer in 1998. He then married former model Heather Mills in 2002, but the union ended in a messy divorce in 2008.

—Reuters

Blues a blessing for Buddy Guy

Buddy Guy didn't have the blues at the Blues Music Awards.

Guy won five awards at the Blues Foundation's ceremony Thursday in Memphis, Tenn., including entertainer of the year.

He also won album of the year and contemporary blues album for "Living Proof," contemporary blues artist and song of the year.

Solomon Burke posthumously won soul blues male artist of the year and soul blues album of the year for "Nothing's Impossible."

—Associated Press

Ailing conductor to skip Met tour

Recurring back pain will cause conductor James Levine to miss the Metropolitan Opera's tour of Japan, including a performance of Verdi's "Don Carlo" on June 5 that was to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his debut with the New York City company.

The Met announced Friday that Fabio Luisi, its principal guest conductor, will replace Levine in Japan, and for a Met orchestra concert at Carnegie Hall on May 15.

Levine, 67, has been the Met's chief conductor, music director or artistic director since 1973. He has missed many performances in recent years for a variety of health issues and in March resigned as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, effective Sept. 1.

—Associated Press

Finally

Coen solo: Filmmaker Ethan Coen, who with his brother, Joel, is responsible for the films "No Country for Old Men," "Fargo" and "The Big Lebowski," among others, will publish a book of poetry next year, his second, with Crown.

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